- Age Range: 10 - 15 years
- Grade Level: 5 - 6
- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (April 11, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374326207
- ISBN-13: 978-0374326203
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,566,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Girl of Kosovo Hardcover – April 11, 2001
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"How was it that foreigners could come take pictures of us when we were dead, but couldn't come to help us stay alive?" Eleven-year-old Zana Dugolli doesn't understand how the rest of the world can send reporters to record the violence that is inflicted daily on Kosovo-born Albanians by the brutal Serbian military, yet do nothing to stop it. In the late 1990s, Zana's rural village is targeted when the Serbian ruling class steps up its efforts to completely wipe out ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Unbelievingly, she watches as a bomb explodes right in front of her, killing her father and two brothers. Zana's own leg is shattered by the blast, and the physical pain added to the grief of losing half her family is almost more than she can bear. Sick with fear, Zana wonders how much longer she, her mother, and her remaining brother can face the demoralizing effects of so much hate. "All I knew was that I was slowly losing my life. I felt betrayed by everyone and everything. I couldn't trust the ground itself. If a bomb fell on it, it could swallow me whole."
Alice Mead, author of the much-lauded Adem's Cross, continues to draw attention to the horrific Serbian-Albanian conflict with Girl of Kosovo. Brutal and moving, this novel is sure to stir the activist that lives in the heart of every teen and propel young readers to a greater understanding of race, war, and politics. (Ages 10 and older) --Jennifer Hubert
From Publishers Weekly
As in her Adem's Cross, Mead places a human face on the Kosovo crisis by focusing on an Albanian family ravaged by war. Even after her father and brothers are killed and her leg is gravely injured in a Serb attack, 11-year-old Zana, the narrator, struggles to heed her father's advice: "Don't let them fill your heart with hate. Whatever happens." Zana's friendship with a Serbian girl, Lena, and her trip behind enemy lines to a hospital in Belgrade provide Zana with evidence of kindness to weigh against the brutality in the Serb faction, while her cowardly KLA uncle Vizar illuminates weaknesses among the Albanians. Mead puts the war into a context that young readers will understand. The family watches sports on ESPN and Zana's brother plays Nintendo; at the same time, they bury guns and food and sleep in their clothes, poised to retreat. Through Zana, the author stresses the random cruelty of the war in Kosovo, and her anger stretches to include foreign journalists: "How was it that foreigners could come take pictures of us when we were dead, but couldn't come to help us stay alive? I wanted to let the air out of their fancy tires so they would be stuck here, trapped the way we were." The ending is a little convenient (Zana helps save Lena's family from the vengeful hatred of their Albanian neighbors), but most readers will find the story powerful and hard-hitting. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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Zana and Lena are best friends but Zana is an Alban and Lena is a Serb. The Albans and the Serbs are at war with each other and now they can't be friends any more. One day Zana and her family were trying to escape but a bomb fell right in front of their truck and killed her father and brothers. She had to go to the hospital and get surgery done on her foot because when the bomb exploded, glass went into her foot and infected it. After the a few days in the hospital, after the surgery, she went back home and found out that the war had gotten worse. Some people died when she was away, but not many. Her foot was not getting better so she had to go back to the hospital where they gave her medicine Once the medicine ran out she had to go back home. The war was over but everyone lost their home except the three Serb families. Lena's house being one that was still standing. Everyone wanted to kill Lena's family but Zana stopped them. Now they are friends again but Lena and her family have to move to make sure that nothing happens to them.
I would recommend this book to a girl around the age of 12 or 13. Boys would not like this book because it is about a girl named Zana.